Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Not Good Enough

I recently went through this strange phase of a photographer's journey, when nothing I shoot is good enough, and me being the judge of my own photographs. I remembered in the beginning (many years ago) when I started to venture deep into photography, each photograph was a new discovery and everything was a wonder. I could not wait to share my photographs because I want to share the joy and wonder with the world. It does not matter if anyone thought the photographs were mere snapshots, not that I would mind a few critical comments, but it was the act of putting my photographs out there that brought much excitement. It still does and I still get the kick out of flooding my blog with photographs I took on my regular shutter therapy sessions. The difference now, I felt they could be better, or I could do better. 

A part of me felt that is a natural process to doubt my own capabilities, after all as I went further, met more photographers, witnessed more and more amazing photography work by local and other photographers from many parts of the world, I always admit that I am a learning photographer and there is so much more for me to learn and be exposed to. Lately, this has been incredibly true and I guess the only next logical step forward, is to really reflect on my current photography activities and take a deep look at my photographs. Yes, I can do better. 

So here are some shots from my latest shutter therapy session, with thoughts on how they could have been better in at least a dozen or more ways. 

All images were taken with OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens

Father



The Cat Knows

Portrait of a Stranger

Morning nap

Portrait of a Stranger 2

Reflections

Have any of you had this problem? The thought of your photographs, no matter how hard you try, is not good enough?

13 comments :

  1. Everyone who is constantly improving should feel this way from time to time.

    I feel this way every time I start a new sport.

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    1. You always start a new sport? wow!

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    2. I try to understand as many sports as possible in order to photograph them from the athlete's point of view. Currently, I photograph at skate parks--those using skateboards, bikes, inline skates, and scooters. I'm not the best but I'm good at it. I need to work on post processing more, but now, I'm recording video clips almost as much as I'm taking still photos. http://www.youtube.com/c/sakaphotographics goes to my channel on YouTube.

      Traditional high school sports have been my work since early 2004, except for American football which almost always requires high ISO photography and an insight into managed chaos.

      I'm not any good at what you do, but then, I spend too little time getting the photos and I'm always on the move. That makes me a good sports photographer who gets the shots no one else is getting. I hope I don't sound arrogant. I feel good about my photography most days, though.

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  2. You are having the photographic equivalent of writer's block - nothing is good enough, nothing works the way you [the writer] wants it, it all seems mediocre. It is, of course, good to be critical. But one can also be overly critical. Anything can be improved, but the question is: does it really NEED (drastic) improvement? The answer, certainly in your case, is no. Your work always has been remarkable and inspired - and it still is.

    It's good to set goals and standards and try to improve all the time. It is not good (and not necessary) to be overly critical, making things too difficult for yourself. A possible solution is the same as with writer's block: do something completely different, new, or innovative and (pleasantly) surprise yourself. But don't beat yourself up. Your work is excellent.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words! Perhaps I should pick up nude photography! Kidding of course

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    2. Your models will be confused as to why you're not wearing clothes. ;-)

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    3. Sakamoto-san made a few interesting observations, Robin - maybe that's an idea: getting the shots nobody else gets. You already do that, to some extent: look at, for example, at the shot of the guy walking in between the two buses. Not many would recognize that as a photographic opportunity, just a guy walking, nothing special: but you saw the reflections and the symmetry and nailed it. In addition you have this "thing" with portraiture - you always seem to produce very expressive portraits, via the eyes straight into the soul. Same with your macro work. It has a special quality.

      Maybe nude isn't that bad an idea, if you of course keep it very, very tasteful and decent. Black-and-white, with strong contrasts, showing curves only, mere suggestions. If you would combine that with your special style of portraiture (head-and-shoulders, a mere hint here and there) it could become something very special. And of course (to reassure Sakamoto-san) you keep your clothes on ;-)

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  3. I always have this "problem" or feeling, but I think this may not be a bad thing because it push me to try getting better picts. Many times I think this is way I love photography, because it is not easy, for me at least, and I have to try a lot to get a photography that satisfies me, and I think that I`m not doing this "only" for satisfaction, I sometimes think that I expect too much, but I like trying and trying. Sometimes I try another lens, another camera, maybe using a tripod changes my way of taking picts and this shows me there are many ways to think about photography and about expressing myself. Or you can try with a filter, or doing IR, or even video, every little change can open your eyes to a new way of thinking or taking new tecnical challenges. Is it about that, I answer? Not only, photography is so bast that we can fill the web with billions of photos and we keep on trying again and again with this passion/obsession. In the way we learn about ourselves and lately I think photography is about concepts, aesthetics, egos, etc, etc... Maybe it is as complex as literature is. For me it is, hopefully! And of course, it is a pleasure although sometimes looks a torture, a way with no end. It is the search what pushes me to keep on shooting. I love it, I need it, only for myself.
    Sorry about my english, ;)and congrats and thanks for this site, you are inspiration for many! Keep on trying.

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    1. I agree with you Aitor that the only way forward is to keep persisting and going on. Shoot more and more until we push out of our own boundaries and get better or to where we want to. I chucked when you mentioned photography is about "ego" because I do have the same thought!
      Thanks for the compliments, and yes, lets keep on trying.

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  4. Can creative color wheel be overlay on b&w monochrome mode. I know monochrome has some basic colors. I've read they can be used together. Not sure how?

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  5. A great man has told us something like that: You won, please continue, you lost, please continue!!! And what about the Impressionists or about me after my great expectations from the Olympus Global Photo Contest where the results were hard to digest (at least for me). I don't intend to give up because I think this is my vocation and so I think you must do with your work, never give up!!!!

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  6. Very creative and all to one photography really amazing But i want to say for wedding photographywedding photography in san diego is best one..

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